Psychological Research (PSYCHOL RES-PSYCH FO )

Publisher: Springer Verlag


Psychological Research/Psychologische Forschung publishes articles that contribute to a basic understanding of human perception attention memory and action. The Journal is devoted to the dissemination of knowledge based on firm experimental ground but not to particular approaches or schools of thought. Theoretical and historical papers are welcome to the extent that they serve this general purpose; papers of an applied nature are acceptable if they contribute to basic understanding or serve to bridge the often felt gap between basic and applied research in the field covered by the Journal.

Impact factor 2.47

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    Psychological Research website
  • Other titles
    Psychological research (Online)
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  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

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Springer Verlag

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: One of the aims of research in spatial cognition is to examine whether spatial skills can be enhanced. The goal of the present study was thus to assess the benefit and maintenance effects of mental rotation training in young adults. Forty-eight females took part in the study: 16 were randomly assigned to receive the mental rotation training (based on comparing pairs of 2D or 3D objects and rotation games), 16 served as active controls (performing parallel non-spatial activities), and 16 as passive controls. Transfer effects to both untrained spatial tasks (testing both object rotation and perspective taking) and visual and verbal tasks were examined. Across the training sessions, the group given mental rotation training revealed benefits in the time it took to make judgments when comparing 3D and 2D objects, but their mental rotation speed did not improve. When compared with the other groups, the mental rotation training group did show transfer effects, however, in tasks other than those practiced (i.e., in object rotation and perspective-taking tasks), and these benefits persisted after 1 month. The training had no effect on visual or verbal tasks. These findings are discussed from the spatial cognition standpoint and with reference to the (rotation) training literature.
    Psychological Research 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Person names and common nouns differ in how they are stored in the mental lexicon. Using event-related potentials, this study compared the integration of names and nouns into sentence contexts. Both person names and common nouns were highly related in meaning and either congruent or incongruent within the previous contexts. Name incongruence elicited an N400 effect, suggesting that people were able to rapidly retrieve the semantic meaning of names from long-term memory even when this process was mediated by person identification. Conversely, participants showed a “good enough” processing of the nouns due to their low specificity level and, thus, rich semantic associations, leading to a P600 effect. These distinctive ERP effects provide clear evidence for the distinctive semantic representations of these word categories by showing that the activation of a name’s meaning is mediated by a single connection between identity-specific information and person identity, whereas multiple connections exist between nouns and their meanings.
    Psychological Research 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: According to the New Look theory, size perception is affected by emotional factors. Although previous studies have attempted to explain the effects of both emotion and motivation on size perception, they have failed to identify the underlying mechanisms. This study aimed to investigate the underlying mechanisms of size perception by applying attention toward facial expressions using the Ebbinghaus illusion as a measurement tool. The participants, female university students, were asked to judge the size of a target stimulus relative to the size of facial expressions (i.e., happy, angry, and neutral) surrounding the target. The results revealed that the participants perceived angry and neutral faces to be larger than happy faces. This finding indicates that individuals pay closer attention to neutral and angry faces than happy ones. These results suggest that the mechanisms underlying size perception involve cognitive processes that focus attention toward relevant stimuli and block out irrelevant stimuli.
    Psychological Research 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we examined the cognitive processes and ocular behavior associated with on-going navigation strategy choice using a route learning paradigm that distinguishes between three different wayfinding strategies: an allocentric place strategy, and the egocentric associative cue and beacon response strategies. Participants approached intersections of a known route from a variety of directions, and were asked to indicate the direction in which the original route continued. Their responses in a subset of these test trials allowed the assessment of strategy choice over the course of six experimental blocks. The behavioral data revealed an initial maladaptive bias for a beacon response strategy, with shifts in favor of the optimal configuration place strategy occurring over the course of the experiment. Response time analysis suggests that the configuration strategy relied on spatial transformations applied to a viewpoint-dependent spatial representation, rather than direct access to an allocentric representation. Furthermore, pupillary measures reflected the employment of place and response strategies throughout the experiment, with increasing use of the more cognitively demanding configuration strategy associated with increases in pupil dilation. During test trials in which known intersections were approached from different directions, visual attention was directed to the landmark encoded during learning as well as the intended movement direction. Interestingly, the encoded landmark did not differ between the three navigation strategies, which is discussed in the context of initial strategy choice and the parallel acquisition of place and response knowledge.
    Psychological Research 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: People fixate on blank spaces if visual stimuli previously occupied these regions of space. This so-called "looking at nothing" (LAN) phenomenon is said to be a part of information retrieval from internal memory representations, but the exact nature of the relationship between LAN and memory retrieval is unclear. While evidence exists for an influence of LAN on memory retrieval for visuospatial stimuli, evidence for verbal information is mixed. Here, we tested the relationship between LAN behavior and memory retrieval in an episodic retrieval task where verbal information was presented auditorily during encoding. When participants were allowed to gaze freely during subsequent memory retrieval, LAN occurred, and it was stronger for correct than for incorrect responses. When eye movements were manipulated during memory retrieval, retrieval performance was higher when participants fixated on the area associated with to-be-retrieved information than when fixating on another area. Our results provide evidence for a functional relationship between LAN and memory retrieval that extends to verbal information.
    Psychological Research 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The dual mechanisms of control account proposed a role for proactive and reactive mechanisms in minimizing or resolving interference in conflict tasks. Proactive mechanisms are activated in advance of stimulus onset and lead to preparatory biasing of attention in a goal-directed fashion. Reactive mechanisms are triggered post-stimulus onset. Using an explicit, trial-by-trial pre-cueing procedure in a 4-choice color-word Stroop task, we investigated effects of congruency pre-cues on cognitive control. Under conditions of stimulus uncertainty (i.e., each word was associated with multiple, equally probable responses), pre-cue benefits were observed on incongruent trials when cues were 100 % valid but not when they were 75 % valid. These benefits were selectively found at the longest cue-to-stimulus interval (2,000 ms), consistent with a preparation-dependent proactive control mechanism. By contrast, when a reactive strategy of switching attention to the irrelevant dimension to predict the single correlated response was viable, pre-cue benefits were observed on incongruent trials for all cue-to-stimulus intervals including the shortest that afforded only 500 ms to prepare. The findings (a) suggest a restricted role for the preparation-dependent biasing of attention via proactive control in response to explicit, trial-by-trial pre-cues while (b) highlighting strategies that lead to pre-cue benefits but which appear to reflect primarily reactive use of the information afforded by the pre-cues. We conclude that pre-cues, though available in advance of stimulus onset, may stimulate proactive or reactive minimization of interference.
    Psychological Research 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The present study aimed to assess whether the representation of the typical size of objects can interact with response position codes in two-choice bimanual tasks, and give rise to a SNARC-like effect (faster responses when the representation of the typical size of the object to which the target stimulus refers corresponds to response side). Participants performed either a magnitude comparison task (in which they were required to judge whether the target was smaller or larger than a reference stimulus; Experiment 1) or a semantic decision task (in which they had to classify the target as belonging to either the category of living or non-living entities; Experiment 2). Target stimuli were pictures or written words referring to either typically large and small animals or inanimate objects. In both tasks, participants responded by pressing a left- or right-side button. Results showed that, regardless of the to-be-performed task (magnitude comparison or semantic decision) and stimulus format (picture or word), left responses were faster when the target represented typically small-sized entities, whereas right responses were faster for typically large-sized entities. These results provide evidence that the information about the typical size of objects is activated even if it is not requested by the task, and are consistent with the idea that objects' typical size is automatically spatially coded, as has been proposed to occur for number magnitudes. In this representation, small objects would be on the left and large objects would be on the right. Alternative interpretations of these results are also discussed.
    Psychological Research 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have demonstrated that empathizing with pain involves both cognitive and affective components of pain. How does empathetic pain impact cognition? To investigate this question, in the present study, participants performed a classic color-word Stroop task that followed a pain portraying or a corresponding control image. We found that observing pain experience in another had a basic slowing down effect on Reaction times (RTs) during neutral Stroop trials. Further, it affected cognition in a way that it decreased interference and increased facilitation. Moreover, our findings revealed that RTs during the incongruent and congruent trials were essentially unchanged by pain observing (empathy vs. control). The data are best accounted by a two-opposing effect model that empathetic pain impacts cognition through two different ways: it slows down performance in general, and facilitates performance during incongruent and congruent trials in particular. In this way, the present study also lends support to an idea that all components of empathy should be understood from an integrative approach.
    Psychological Research 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In everyday life, navigators often consult a map before they navigate to a destination (e.g., a hotel, a room, etc.). However, not much is known about how humans gain spatial knowledge from seeing a map and direct navigation together. In the present experiments, participants learned a simple multiple corridor space either from a map only, only from walking through the virtual environment, first from the map and then from navigation, or first from navigation and then from the map. Afterwards, they conducted a pointing task from multiple body orientations to infer the underlying reference frames. We constructed the learning experiences in a way such that map-only learning and navigation-only learning triggered spatial memory organized along different reference frame orientations. When learning from maps before and during navigation, participants employed a map- rather than a navigation-based reference frame in the subsequent pointing task. Consequently, maps caused the employment of a map-oriented reference frame found in memory for highly familiar urban environments ruling out explanations from environmental structure or north preference. When learning from navigation first and then from the map, the pattern of results reversed and participants employed a navigation-based reference frame. The priority of learning order suggests that despite considerable difference between map and navigation learning participants did not use the more salient or in general more useful information, but relied on the reference frame established first.
    Psychological Research 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Two experiments are presented to explore the limits when matching a sample to a suspect utilising the hand as a novel biometric. The results of Experiment 1 revealed that novice participants were able to match hands at above-chance levels as viewpoint changed. Notably, a moderate change in viewpoint had no notable effect, but a more substantial change in viewpoint affected performance significantly. Importantly, the impact of viewpoint when matching hands was smaller than that when matching ears in a control condition. This was consistent with the suggestion that the flexibility of the hand may have minimised the negative impact of a sub-optimal view. The results of Experiment 2 confirmed that training via a 10-min expert video was sufficient to reduce the impact of viewpoint in the most difficult case but not to remove it entirely. The implications of these results were discussed in terms of the theoretical importance of function when considering the canonical view and in terms of the applied value of the hand as a reliable biometric across viewing conditions.
    Psychological Research 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Responses to centrally presented target stimuli are faster when they are accompanied by a task-irrelevant lateral accessory stimulus that corresponds spatially with the response hand (accessory variant of the Simon effect). In four experiments, we tested whether this effect depends on the awareness of the accessory stimulus. In a change blindness task, participants were asked to respond to a central letter that was accompanied by a lateral background change on some trials. Change blindness describes the phenomenon that even large changes may remain unnoticed when they occur simultaneously with another visual disruption, e.g., a blank screen. In a series of four experiments, a significant Simon effect was observed both when the accessory stimulus reached awareness and when it remained unnoticed. These results indicate that, based on the spatial location of an accessory stimulus, a spatial code is generated. This code interferes with the response code on the response-selection stage.
    Psychological Research 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Symmetric, target-directed, bimanual movements take less time to prepare than asymmetric movements (Diedrichsen et al. in Cerebral Cortex 16(12):1729-1738, 2006; Heuer and Klein in Psychol Res 70(4):229-244, 2006b). The preparation savings for symmetric movements may be related to the specification of symmetric amplitudes, target locations, or both. The goals of this study were to determine which symmetric movement parameters facilitate the preparation of bimanual movements and to compare the size of the facilitation for different parameters. Thirty participants performed bimanual reaching movements that varied in terms of the symmetry/asymmetry of starting locations, movement amplitudes, and target locations. Reaction time savings were examined by comparing movements that had one symmetric parameter (and two asymmetric parameters) to movements with all asymmetric parameters. We observed significant savings (~10 ms) for movements with symmetric amplitudes and movements with symmetric target locations. Reaction time costs were examined by comparing movements that had two asymmetric parameters (and one symmetric parameter) to movements with all symmetric parameters. We observed significant reaction time costs (~13 ms) for all movements with asymmetric amplitudes. These results suggest that movement preparation is facilitated when amplitudes or target locations are symmetric and that movement preparation suffers interference when amplitudes are asymmetric. The relative importance of the three parameters to movement preparation, from most to least important, is movement amplitudes, target locations, and then starting locations. Interference with asymmetric amplitudes or target locations may be caused by cross-talk between concurrent processes of parameter specification during response programming.
    Psychological Research 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the relations of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) to cognitive functions in 15-year-old adolescents from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children while controlling for aerobic fitness. A sub-sample of 667 adolescents (M age = 15.4 ± 0.16 years; 55 % females) who provided valid data on variables of interest, were used in the analyses. MVPA was objectively assessed using an Actigraph GT1M accelerometer and aerobic fitness was expressed as physical work capacity at the heart rate of 170 beats per minute from a cycle ergometer test. A computerized stop-signal task was used to measure mean reaction time (RT) and standard deviation of RT, as indicators of cognitive processing speed and variability during an attention and inhibitory control task. MVPA was not significantly related to cognitive processing speed or variability of cognitive performance in hierarchical linear regression models. In simple regression models, aerobic fitness was negatively related to mean RT on the simple go condition. Our results suggest that aerobic fitness, but not MVPA, was associated with cognitive processing speed under less cognitively demanding task conditions. The results thus indicate a potential global effect of aerobic fitness on cognitive functions in adolescents but this may differ depending on the specific task characteristics.
    Psychological Research 10/2014;